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Seahawks 17 Eagles 9: Winners and Losers from a triumphant road playoff performance

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NFL: NFC Wild Card-Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The long, three-year drought is over.

After consecutive seasons without a playoff victory, the Seattle Seahawks conjured up another ugly as hell but ultimately successful 17-9 road win over the Philadelphia Eagles to cap off 2020 NFL Wild Card weekend. It must be said that Philadelphia was valiant in defeat given their severely shorthanded offense lost Carson Wentz too.

The Seahawks could’ve been the #1 seed, the #3 seed, but here they are as a #5 seed and STILL with a small chance of getting to host the NFC Championship Game. They just need the Minnesota Vikings to beat the San Francisco 49ers, while the Seahawks get their first road win over the Green Bay Packers since 1999. Hey, it’s fun to dream right?

Here are the winners and losers from Seattle’s wild card victory.

Winners

DK Metcalf

That was awe-inspiring. Three games ago, Metcalf had a drop and a goose egg on the stat sheet against the Arizona Cardinals. Since then, he’s racked up 13 catches for 241 yards and a couple of touchdowns. His 7/160/1 line in his playoff debut was historically great. It’s not just his catches that were impressive against the Eagles, it was his run-blocking on the edges and the downfield blocking display on David Moore’s big catch, it was his role on the pick play that freed up Tyler Lockett for an easy conversion on 3rd down without a penalty. He is a physical freak still learning the ropes of NFL football, and if he continues to get better from here, he’ll be a top-five talent without a doubt.

The dagger 36-yard catch on 3rd and 10 to assure the Eagles never get the ball back was a thing of beauty.

Russell Wilson

Wilson was outstanding both as a thrower and a runner. It’s been awhile since he’s looked that speedy as a rusher, gaining 48 yards (before kneeldowns) and converting on 3rd and 15 in the 4th quarter. As a passer, he went 18/30 for 325 yards and a touchdown, making magic happen and showing great poise in the pocket. That was MVP Russ we saw, not the one who had been struggling through much of December.

Marshawn Lynch

Right, so 32 yards on 8 touches is actually bad, but his 3rd and 1 catch before the Metcalf touchdown was huge, and he got into the end zone on a run for the second game running. Marshawn freaking Lynch got a playoff touchdown for the Seahawks in 2020, nine years removed from Beastquake. Think about that and then smile.

Offensive line - Pass blocking

I cannot believe that a team playing George Fant, Jamarco Jones, and Joey Hunt as 60% of a starting offensive line held Philly’s pass rush to just one sack. There were not too many protection breakdowns and Wilson did not spend another afternoon running for his life. What a stunningly competent — no, more than competent! — display in pass blocking for the makeshift Seahawks unit.

David Moore

I have gotten on Moore for not being a productive receiver relative to his targets. On his two catches, they were extremely important and drive-extending plays. His scramble drill catch-and-run of 38 yards showed Moore’s best asset of open space running, while his other grab was on an intermediate crosser to keep the chains moving.

The linebackers

What a superb day at the office for Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright, and most importantly Cody Barton. It honestly slipped my mind that Barton was starting in place of Mychal Kendricks, and he had 1.5 sacks along with a solid day in pass coverage and run support, getting two passes defended along the way.

Bradley McDougald

Yes he had two blatant holds on Zach Ertz, but he just looks so much better with Quandre Diggs alongside him and not someone less capable at free safety. He led the team in tackles and recorded a sack, along with a tackle for loss in the run game. I cannot wait for a full season of McDougald/Diggs next year.

Jadeveon Clowney

Okay, I just want to get it out of the way that I think there should’ve been a penalty on Clowney for the hit on Wentz. If that was Brandon Graham doing the same thing on Russell Wilson, we’d be up in arms. With that said, I don’t think he intended to do a vicious helmet-to-helmet shot to KO Wentz, but rather it was a reckless and cheap attempt at getting a QB hit.

That aside, Clowney started slowly (and sloppily) but was super dominant in the 2nd half. His stats hold up as one of his best games of the season, and the eyes back it up. I only wish he’d have gotten more than just one sack on a surprisingly mobile McCown.

Michael Dickson

Whatever issues he had earlier in the season, he’s been back to his All-Pro form from his rookie season. Four punts, two pinning the Eagles inside their 20, while the other two punts yielded fair catches. Those are the little things that help a team win, so it’s relieving to see Dickson’s resurgence.

Brian Schottenheimer

We all got on Schotty for that garbage gameplan against the Dallas Cowboys in the previous postseason. I think he learned his lesson, as it was a greater than 2-to-1 pass-run ratio, and I’m pretty sure Russell Wilson audibled into a couple of those doomed runs. They still had way too many third and longs but they also converted several of them, and overall I have few complaints about what Schottenheimer did given the injuries on offense and the Eagles boasting a quality defense. How can you not love that Cover-0 blitz beating dagger to Metcalf to ice the game? That’s aggression for you.

Poona Ford

It’s fun watching him tackle running backs one-on-one, because they rarely escape his grasp. The only misstep he had was when he pinballed Miles Sanders forward towards the first-down marker. This is still a Poona Ford Fan Account.

Losers

Offensive line - Run blocking

The Eagles have an elite run defense and the Seahawks were playing three backups on the offensive line. Your end result is 17 carries for 18 yards and a touchdown, with blown assignments aplenty.

Travis Homer

Homer had just 12 yards on 11 carries, and he had a 12-yard run on one of those carries. The o-line did him no favors, but also he fumbled and was lucky he fell back on it. That means every Week 1 RB on the Seahawks depth chart has coughed it up, which has to be a record. Against a worse defense I suspect he could be a bigger factor.

Jacob Hollister

Easily his worst game of the season. Offensive pass interference wiped out a big catch, and he false started twice. His final stat line read two catches for 16 yards on four targets. The penalties were just so bad, and I think the OPI call was totally fine.

Tre Flowers

Man, that was not a good showing at all. Flowers got flagged twice for pass interference and probably had the worst showing out of the entire secondary. The worst part of it is he was cleanly beat on the second PI, which is inexcusable given that’s a preseason roster the Eagles eventually finished the game with.

Ziggy Ansah

Yikes. Not only did he look way slower than a 40-year-old Josh McCown on a read-option (!!!!), he unfortunately get injured on the same play. I think we can write off the idea of re-signing Ziggy.

The coaching staff (and Russell Wilson’s?) concept of time

Stop leaving the huddle with eight on the play clock. The frequency in which they get delay of game penalties, false starts, or waste timeouts because of this nonsense is infuriating. Cut this out.

Final Notes

  • To be a total buzzkill, I don’t think the defense played as well as the stats suggested. They forced zero punts in the 2nd half and against a severely limited offense playing its backup quarterback, Ken Norton Jr was way too willing to play “bend but don’t break” defense. There’s no good reason for the game to have been that close with Philadelphia getting that many red zone opportunities. A lot of the sacks also felt like coverage sacks that McCown just ran into. Some of the run defense issues at the point of attack and wide open spots for TEs to run free have to be cleaned up moving forward.
  • Rasheem Green and Quinton Jefferson combined for three sacks, as Green continues to show flashes of promise in his second season. Jefferson is making a case to be re-signed in free agency.
  • Tyler Lockett was shut out in the 2nd half, which provided DK Metcalf the opportunity to dunk on Philly instead. He still had 4 catches for 62 yards and a phenomenal 28-yard sideline grab that Pete Carroll successfully challenged into a call reversal.
  • How about Ugo Amadi on that opening drive getting a third down stop by tightly covering Greg Ward? Glad to see him get more nickel looks and sending Akeem King back to the bench.
  • Shaun Smith’s crew was not ready for primetime. This was a poorly officiated game and while Eagles fans will be up in arms over the non-call on Clowney, I sure as hell know that there’s no grey area on an offsides penalty. These have to be called accurately.
  • Germain Ifedi wasn’t a “loser” but he sure wasn’t a winner. A false start penalty on Seattle’s eventual field goal drive, and a blocking failure between him and Phil Haynes that led to Jason Myers’ first kick getting blocked.
  • Seattle has never lost three straight games in a season in the Russell Wilson era. That streak continues, which is a testament to how great this team has been even if 2019 has been the ultimate in making every win feel like pulling teeth.
  • We have another weekend of Seahawks football to enjoy. Bring on the Pack!